The Benefits of a Data-Driven Supply Chain

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The Benefits of a Data-Driven Supply Chain

For successful businesses, a data-driven supply chain not only means gathering a mountain of information but also achieving a 365-degree view of it.

And with the level of precision and detail available through data collection sources such as IoT devices, those views can be incredibly detailed and rewarding.

In this article, we will discuss what today's data-driven supply chain entails, particularly through the use of "Internet of Things" (IoT) sources, as well as the benefits of a data-driven supply chain strategy for thriving in the Big Data business world.  

What is a Data-Driven Supply Chain?

A 'data-driven supply chain' is supply chain quality management based on the collection and analysis of product information from every important point of production.

Data such as quality control (QC) inspection results, manufacturing speed, and even delivery efficiency can all be gathered at their corresponding production points. Then, with the help of machine-based analytics, these large chunks of data can provide companies with a clear picture of their supply chain's current performance.

Here is where companies can pinpoint specific areas along their supply chain that are in need of quality, compliance, and efficiency improvement.  

Additionally, predictions about future growth potential and trends in product demand can be determined, for instance, through subtle changes in inventory movement over time.  

Finally, a data-driven supply chain management system can also help companies determine the 'cost of quality,' meaning the increased cost of reworking or rebuilding products based on quality and compliance failures discovered, either internally by QC inspectors, or worse, externally by customers or regulators.  

When successfully implemented, a data-driven supply chain management system allows managers and operators at every level of production to work together, proactively and with confidence, to address all manner of sourcing, manufacturing, and delivery problems.

A confident and proactive supply chain, backed by powerful data-driven analysis, is your company's best bet for increasing sales, boosting profit margins, and garnering customer retention and brand loyalty.

How has technology responded to the demand for versatile forms of collection to feed data-driven supply chains? That bell has been answered by the "Internet of Things" (IoT) devices.  

What are the Key Benefits of IoT-Powered Data Collection?

With the proliferation of "Internet of Things" (IoT) sensors and devices located throughout the business and supply chain, Big Data volume has grown even greater. Predictions show the number of anticipated IoT devices to be over 41 billion globally by 2025.  

However, IoT technology is more than just a versatile means for capturing production and sales data. It is geared towards the simultaneous collection and analysis of this data so businesses can make informed decisions in real-time, rather than waiting around for manual reports to be completed. 

When a high level of volume, source variety, and detail can be both collected and automatically configured into understandable production patterns, businesses can:

  • Extract actionable insights to the state of their operation;
  • Fix current and persistent issues; and
  • Implement lasting improvements across their supply chain. 

Versatility is what makes IoT-data collection effective. Sensors and devices can be used to measure performance at every key point across the supply chain. Here are three important benefits to IoT-data collection.

Minimize Product Damage -- Sensors attached to transport vehicles, vessels, and individual shipment containers can alert companies to any excessive vibrations occurring in-transit--vibration levels that have proven to loosen or break up component parts.  

Additionally, real-time temperature and moisture checks can help food companies monitor their shipment to ensure it stays within the desired atmospheric range during transit.

Decrease Delays -- Whether we are looking at factory functions, warehousing structure, or product deliveries, IoT sensors can help companies figure out root causes for inefficiencies within the production cycle.

Perhaps a warehouse is storing the most actively selling product in the most inaccessible of places. When this is determined as a root cause of frequent shipping delays, reorganization measures can quickly be implemented and then monitored to see how much faster in-demand products are shipped.

Or else, a chosen overland route is fraught with traffic delays that are putting time-sensitive products at risk. With enough available evidence, root cause analysis can point to either rerouting or alternate-timing solutions.

Leverage Quality Inspection Data -- Through the use of portable devices, QC inspectors can collect inspection data directly from sourcing areas, factory sites, and delivery zones in real-time. In an instant, that data can be analyzed against previous inspections to reveal quality failure trends traceable to a particular process or piece of machinery.  

How Can a Data-Driven Supply Chain Strategy Increase Your Competitive Edge?

Over the past decade, successful companies have proven that applying Big Data collection and analysis to their marketing and sales strategies truly works.

Therefore, it is no surprise that the same methods are increasingly being applied to supply chain management. 

Implementing a data-driven strategy to production is the most important first step to greater supply chain visibility. And with visibility comes the ability to:

  • Predict and prevent problems before they become costly disasters
  • Adjust to changes in supply chain conditions, such as unforeseen delivery obstacles
  • Maintain an agile inventory for sudden shifts in customer demand
  • Identify new opportunities for smarter and more efficient production processes

Of course, all successful strategies must be able to unify everybody in the process. In this case, cloud-based data sharing and communication platforms are now available to help multi-tiered companies collaborate and turn Big Data into their competitive advantage.  

How Can QIMAone Help?

Since many moving parts make up a modern supply chain, informed, proactive measures may be the only viable way to compete in our globalized, e-commerce landscape.

That is why QIMAone has applied over 15 years of testing, inspection, and certification (TIC) service experience to the creation of an end-to-end quality and compliance software for proactive supply chain management.

Our aim is to help you gain transformative insight into the performance of your suppliers, manufacturers, warehouses, and shipping operations, so you can clearly navigate your course to prosperity.

We provide tools for complete supply chain mapping--and the loads of data collected from farms, factories, and warehouses, as well as en route, are automatically organized by location and processed through your specifically-designed analytic programs. 

Additionally, QIMAone software makes communication and collaboration between managers and in-house inspectors intuitive and rewarding.

Intuitive because customizable workflows and automated inspection assignments allow managers to specify exactly the kind of testing they require, when they are needed, and by which inspector.

Rewarding because, when managers can monitor on-going inspections and communicate with hands-on inspectors, they can make proactive decisions to help reduce the cost of reworking, as well as drive innovation. 

QIMAone knows that the Time is Now for driving quality improvements through effective data-driven supply chain management. When it comes to leveraging Big Data, our software speaks volumes.

Learn more about QIMAone applications by scheduling a demo today.

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